Ian Stewart Discusses Disappointment, the Iowa Cubs, and “Those” Three Days

ian stewart cubsWe’ve been waiting patiently for someone to get Ian Stewart to discuss openly the last few weeks, which have seen him struggle in a rehab stint at Iowa, be activated from the disabled list only to be optioned to Iowa, take 72 hours to report to Iowa even though he was already there, and then ultimately be waived and taken off of the 40-man roster. He now mostly rides the bench at AAA.

It was quite a turn of events for the guy the Cubs traded for in late 2011 to be the next third baseman, and the guy the Cubs guaranteed another $2 million to come back in 2013 after his 2012 season was ended early by wrist problems.

So … what happened? How’s he dealing with it? What was with the 72 hours to report thing?

Tommy Birch at the Des Moines Register has the interview, and it’s a fascinating read if you’re into this story at all.

With respect to that 72-hour sojourn, Stewart essentially confirmed that he was surprised and disappointed by the Cubs’ decision not to bring him back up to the big club when his rehab assignment – during which he’d hit .091 with 16 strikeouts in 44 at bats – ended. He decided then to take his CBA-permitted 72 hours to spend with his wife, who had come to Iowa to visit him that weekend anyway. Stewart says he never understood why the 72-hour thing was such a big deal.

The article is worth reading for a little more background on Stewart’s family – these things are always more complex than a couple tweets or a short news piece can convey – and his thoughts on where he stands within the organization. (Spoiler alert on the last one: the fact that Josh Vitters has been starting at third rather than Stewart is not lost on Stewart. Then again, Vitters is dealing with a quad strain, so maybe Stewart will now get some starts.)

It sounds, generally, like Stewart simply didn’t expect to be left behind based on the injury and early ineffectiveness at Iowa. Given how Luis Valbuena was playing, though, it’s hard to see how the Cubs could have proceeded any other way. You know that the Cubs wanted Stewart to be the guy at third this year, and anything short of what happened probably would have seen Stewart still get the third base job when he was ready to go.

Unfortunately for Stewart, and maybe for the Cubs, it was a perfect storm. And now the Cubs and Stewart are each probably hoping that there’s another, better opportunity out there for him.

Brett Taylor is the editor and lead writer at Bleacher Nation, and can also be found as Bleacher Nation on Twitter and on Facebook.

74 responses to “Ian Stewart Discusses Disappointment, the Iowa Cubs, and “Those” Three Days”

  1. Cubbie Blues

    Let the storm of comments begin.

  2. Blublud

    I agree with Stewart on the 72 hour thing. Don’t give the guy 72 hours to commit, then get mad when uses it. I don’t think Ian is done. At some point the Cubs are probably going to need him. It’s baseball, so he’ll get another chance here, and then once he leaves here. I don’t think he should have been optioned, but that’s just my opinion. I’m still convinced that at some point this season, Stewart will be out starting 3rd baseball.

    1. Norm

      None of the 29 other teams wanted him, so I’m guessing the Cubs were right not to bring him up.

      1. Blublud

        None of the other teams wanted him for $2 million. That why he went unclaimed. However, the Cubs are on the hook for 2 million regardless. Might as well play him or release him. We are not going to be able to trade him. If they didn’t want him, they would just release him. Since he is still on the roster, I’m convinced they want him.

        1. Norm

          Why is playing him or releasing him the only two options? What’s wrong with leaving him in AAA to see if he can come around?

          1. Blublud

            If Soriano hit .100 in a rehab stint, would he get optioned. What about Rizzo, Castro, Dejesus. Probably not. So why is Stewart being single out. He was here as a major leaguer, so he should have gotten his shot. I keep hearing that rehab stints is about getting your timing and getting in shape, stats don’t really matter. Why should Stewart be any different.

            1. Cubbie Blues

              All of the other players you mentioned have actually produced for the Cubs. Stewart has only produced a pile of steamy … headaches.

            2. willis

              Um, because he’s not even close to as good as the guys you mentioned? Because his track record at the major league level is terrible? Out of all people, he doesn’t deserve a shot just because. He should have to earn it. He has nothing to back up just assuming he’ll be “the guy” at 3rd base.

              Hell he lasted like 10 seconds in the first scrimmage before he was out with an injury, after being injured and robbing the Cubs of money all of last year. He’s a joker. I hope we never see him in Chicago again. It was a failed gamble. The risk taken was ok, but it failed. Move on.

            3. DarthHater

              You are seriously contrasting Stewart with Rizzo and Castro? Come on, man.

            4. Norm

              Are you kidding?
              Stewart hasn’t had a respectable season since 2010. Kind of a big difference between him and any other Cub.

              1. Jp3

                Norm you’re too kind, in 2010 he had 18HRs, 60 RBI .256/.338 slash line… That was his ceiling imo and he missed 40 games that year for who knows what. Yeah and track record is the reason he doesn’t get a pass when hitting .091 in his rehab stint.

            5. mak

              Your logic is totally faulty. If Ian Stewart has the right to take off 3 days, the Cubs have the right to not play him if he sucks.

              1. DarthHater

                Yea, it sucks when somebody else does what they have a contractual right to do, doesn’t it?

                1. Jp3

                  I like Mak’s train of thought, sure he has the right to take his 72 hours just as the cubs have the right to bench him bc he sucks

                2. Chet Masterson

                  Pro athletes should either be playing the game, watching film, lifting weights or signing autographs. 100% of the time. Anything less than that – even sleeping too much, and I will absolutely seethe at my keyboard. Seethe!

                  Potential market efficiency idea. Forced abortions for players whose wife/girlfriend is due to give birth during the season. That’s at least 48 hours away from the team. If a player really is giving 110%, this should be no problem, amirite?! Who’s with me?

                  1. Kyle

                    Your hyperbole does not mask your complete lack of a valid point.

                    1. Chet Masterson

                      BURN! You tell ‘em!

                  2. Cubbie Blues

                    That is just a ridiculous amount of hyperbole dribble. Those of us that have enough of Stewart’s antics have all posted what we logically had a problem with. I for one was cheering for him before he started pulling all of his crap.

                    1. Chet Masterson

                      Does that mean you don’t think it’s a good idea?

                    2. Cubbie Blues

                      It means if you want an intelligent conversation to write in an intelligible way.

            6. Brian Myers

              This is why:

              Stewart is a career .232 hitter who’s previous 2 years hit .156 and .201 respectively in the majors. This year he’s batting .138 in AAA. He’s only hit 20HR’s once in his major league career. He’s never had more than 70 RBI’s in the majors.

              He’s had 3 years where he hit like a ML player (2008-2010) and he’s never lived up to being a major power threat or clutch hitter he had the potential to be. Now he can’t regain his form and hit within 80 lbs of his own weight. If he can’t work it out in the minors, the Cubs can’t afford to allow him to figure it out on the ML roster.

          2. jay

            Now they’re leaving him on the roster at AAA purely out of spite. You want your 2Mil, fat boy??? Then enjoy the bench at Iowa for another four months. There’s worse jobs to have for 2 mil then to be Josh Vitters sloppy bottom.

    2. fromthemitten

      The 72 hour thing wasn’t dictated by the Cubs but by the CBA

  3. Werner

    Stewart was unfortunately delusional about his margin for error. I do wonder if he had not spent those 72 hours for himself if he would be still be riding the bench. I mean, he wasn’t even hitting .100. Good grief.

  4. Cubbie Blues

    Stewart was a little disingenuous in the interview. A couple weeks before he was DFA’d he even stated that he needed to get his numbers up and wasn’t ready for a call-up yet.

    1. Cubbie Blues

      Here is the link.

      http://www.bleachernation.com/2013/05/01/ian-stewart-says-hes-not-ready-to-come-back-and-other-bullets/

      It was more than the couple weeks I had in my head, but he was still aware he needed to get his numbers up (which he didn’t).

      1. Alex

        Totally agree I was looking for someone to bring this up. When I opened up the article I kinda figured we were gonna be swayed by some family circumstances and who could have blamed him. But as soon as you see him say he was surprised, you know this guy is crazy. He blatantly said he wasn’t ready yet just days before, and I remember Brett discussing the possibility of the cubs pursuing more time for the rehab although it was unlikely. He’ll probably be up soon, injuries are bound to happen and well see how much longer Cody ransom sticks around, but can’t say I’ve got any faith left in Stewart at this point. That will be the worst trade the front office will ever make, bite the bullet and move on.

        1. Cubbie Blues

          We can only hope that this will be the worst trade the FO will put together. In the big scheme this was all that bad of a trade (hoping for a turn-around of a once prime prospect). There will surely more dongs to go along with the dings as we move forward. We can only hope to come out on the good side of most of the trades going forward. When you make a trade hoping for a comeback you aren’t always going to hit.

    2. Smitty

      I remember that as well.

      He sure comes off as somebody who thinks he had built up some wiggle room for poor stats based on previous results. Very foolish for him to think that since he hadn’t done anything of note in a Cubs uniform since his arrival.

      1. jay

        Well he did. He knew full well they wouldn’t have signed him if A) anybody else had been out there in free agency and B) they had any confidence in a lifetime .227 scrub like Valbuena. The job was his to lose and he knew it.

        1. Cubbie Blues

          He then hit below .100 and lost it while Valbuena mashed in his place with the big club.

          1. jay

            I guarantee you by the end of the season Luis will have dropped back to earth with a big thud.

            1. CubFan Paul

              Not if Luis continues to get platoon at-bats.

              .250/.350/.450ish is doable by year’s end versus RHP

  5. ssckelley

    After this season Ian Stewart will have plenty of opportunities to spend quality time with his wife and kids.

    1. Cubbie Blues

      LArF

    2. Jp3

      He and his wife should send Theo a Christmas card saying thanks for the early Xmas retirement present. Nice little $2mill for almost nothing, well .091 to be exact

      1. DarthHater

        Go ahead and laugh, wise guy. You think it’s easy signing a $2 million paycheck when you have a bad wrist? :-P

        1. Jp3

          I found out 2 reasons he wasn’t healthy from this pic of Ian in the offseason why he had quad and wrist issues…. Too much World of Warcraftimages?q=tbn:ANd9GcQbuuT5GGevbHo9DZMf4KOmpAcSC3crsFdO6GYFptkCYyegOPRbNQ

  6. jay

    Considering it’s minor league ball, and that he obviously was not a priority any longer as far as getting back to the big club, who cares if he took a few days to talk things over with his wif?. Meanwhile, you want to make the big club, try not straining a quad the first time you round first base. I mean, WTF? I can run 90 feet and top speed and not have that happen and I’m 45 fricken years old. What did you do all offseason??? Eat cheetos and go on Twitter??

  7. pete

    It is also as if he does seem to not fathom that he is already 28 and this season is basically over. That means that next season, he will be 29 and will have no contract, with this debacle of a season as his most recent gauge of performance. Too many of these guys do not seem to get that, as an athlete, you get a very finite, and often few, number of chances to be successful at professional sports.

  8. Kramden

    He was hitting .091 at AAA and expected to be handed the starting 3B job with the Cubs?

    Obviously Stewart is delusional and has a tremendous sense of entitlement.

    These are not the types of players teams want on their roster.

    1. willis

      Delusional is a pretty good word to describe him.

  9. Bill

    The Cubs need a better third baseman then anyone on the big team as well as the Iowa team. Ian is nothing to talk about . Better without him but still need a better player then Valbuena who can’t field his position very well.

    1. Cubbie Blues

      Valbuena has a wRC+ 120 right now with a ISO 190. I think he is doing just fine at 3B right now. Is he going to be able to keep it up? We will see, but there is no need in moving him off of the yet with all signs this year that he is a quality starter over there.

      1. cubzfan

        I think it’s telling that Stewart says in the interview that he sees the Cubs have chosen Vitters as the third baseman for now, but doesn’t mention anything about Valbuena. I realize he’s in Des Moines, talking about the I-Cubs, but if he were truly objective he’d understand that he has been benched in favor of a guy who will probably not ever get another chance at 3B in Wrigley.

        A few years back, I loved that Stewart volunteered to play 2B for the Rockies even though he hadn’t played there in the minors. He seemed like a potentially great hitter, and a good teammate. Don’t take your health for granted kids.

  10. Robert

    Reason Stewart is in AAA is because he’s proven with the Rangers and Cubs that he cannot hit major league pitching. He can’t even hit AAA pitching with a .091 BA. So why should the Cubs be interested in bringing this guy up if he’s a terrible hitter? Soriano, Dejesus and the others mentioned have proven that they can hit major league pitching. Stewart hasn’t proved that yet.

    1. ssckelley

      When did he play for the Rangers?

  11. scorecardpaul

    The real trouble in all of this is the line that mentioned that Stewart is now Vitters mentor???
    wow, how bad is that?

    1. Cubbie Blues

      Very bad, for Vitters.

      1. Jp3

        Look kid all you have to do to be me this year is k about 50% of the time and close your eyes the rest of the time and swing hard.

    2. Alex S

      Maybe he’s just mentoring him on defense…Vitters needs all the help he can get in that area.

  12. Dustin S

    Almost hesitate to join the impending flood of comments, but it was a good article from the DMR and interesting insight. I agree on the disingenuous part too. On the one hand I do feel bad for him being away from his family, it’s definitely not a good situation with a wife and kids to be 300 miles away. On the other hand, it’s a bit delusional and in denial for him to feel surprised about how the Cubs have responded to everything. He just barely made the team out of ST by the skin of his teeth, still wasn’t healthy after not playing for the better part of a year, and couldn’t even bat .100 in rehab. Then the 3-day debacle was just kind of the cherry on top that made it look like his problems were due to a lack of effort and/or interest on his part. The Cubs weren’t obligated to bring him up no matter how his rehab went like he seemed to assume. I’m sure even Garza would still be at Iowa if he was pitching as badly as Stewart has hit.

    The larger problem is how to move forward for both sides. It’s the same problem with Marmol and to a lesser degree Soriano, which is that it’s just really hard to trade players with negative (contract) value. Stewart passed through waivers so no team wanted him just on picking up his contract. So the only trade option is a deal for another player in a similar situation and taking on another “bad” contract, but at that point it’s probably just easier to release him and eat the $2M. Without the contract I could see another team giving him a shot on a minor-league deal. But that doesn’t help the Cubs at all beyond just opening an Iowa roster spot. My guess is that is what happens though sometime in the next couple of months.

    1. ssckelley

      But isn’t this what you and your family sign up for when choosing to be a baseball player? I get wanting to spend time with the wife and kids but if I am fighting for my job I will do anything in my power to keep it as in the long run that helps my family. There are some jobs that you can work and never make more than 2 million in your entire life and he was fortunate enough to make that in 1 season playing baseball. By taking the 72 hours not only will he probably never play in Chicago again but he probably also ruined any possibility of another team giving him another chance.

  13. James

    Its hard to feel sorry for Ian Stewart. He didn’t spend anytime with the Cubs after he got hurt last year. Stewart after the offseason came to spring trainging out of shape and expecting to have a job. Ian Stewart brought alot of his own problems on himself. The Cubs made there own mistake by trading for Stewart, after coming off wist surgery.

    1. Lauren D

      I completely agree! Matt Garza was on the DL in July yet he was still with the team cheering on and supporting his teammates. I may be wrong but I don’t think Ian Stewart was around until the last couple of days of the year. I think that speaks volumes to both of their character.

  14. Kyle

    The guy is clearly surprised when things aren’t handed to him. It never crosses his mind to put the extra work in to try and make sure that he gets what he wants. Not hard to wonder if that attitude fueled the long, incomplete rehab process he’s had going with his wrist for the better part of a decade.

    1. Internet Random

      Agreed.

    2. chrisfchi

      Must be all the call of duty zombies hes been playing

    3. Jp3

      HE HAS NO!!!!!……BELLY-FIRE!!!!!you-have-no-marbles-o.gif

  15. Jarred

    So he used the entire 72 hours to spend with his wife in Des Moines, Iowa? Seriously? How about a little sense of urgency, Ian? I could see 24 hours, but 72? What kind of perception does that leave for your overall commitment to the orginization?

    You’re being paid two million dollars to play baseball. Not moping around in Iowa with your wife, feeling sorry for yourself because you’ve sucked (even when healthy) the last two years at your occupation. gtfo

    1. ssckelley

      Funny, I was thinking the same thing and I am from Iowa. The weather was not great in Des Moines those 3 days, but even when the weather is nice I can’t think of what I would want to do with my wife in Des Moines for 72 hours.

      1. DarthHater

        I hope your wife doesn’t read this… :-P

        1. ssckelley

          In Des Moines? It’s not like we are talking Cancun, Vegas, or even Chicago here. About the only thing to do in Des Moines is Jordan Creek Mall and she would even tell you that going there is more enjoyable for her without me.

    2. Alex

      Hah well put.

  16. Mike

    Ian Stewart is a classic example of players feeling entitled to not only get paid and underperform while getting paid, but in feeling entitled to be with a big league ballclub when you can’t even hit .100 in the minors, and no other team wanted you in the off-season. He’s a spoiled, $2 MIL/year brat. He’s worthless, and his behavior over this past year, on many levels, indicates as much.

  17. hawkcub

    The fact he doesn’t know why the 72 hours was such a big deal says it all.

  18. tsb

    While working in government, I accrued 480 hours of vacation time. I could have asked for three months off to go on a round the world cruise with full pay. The bossed would have granted it, but I could kiss any chance of promotion good-bye. Same with Stewart; sure take the 72 hours off, but don’t expect to get any brownie points or promotion to the big leagues for doing it.

  19. Stu

    When the Cubs make business decisions that are not in the best interests of fans, that is always OK.

    When Ian Stewart makes a business/personal decision, it’s not OK.

    You guys need to grow up a little.

    1. Kyle

      I’ll take False Choices for $1000, Alex.

      The answer is: Stu’s post.

      1. Cyranojoe

        Ding ding ding. Big money for Kyle!

        1. Cyranojoe

          Oh wait, no, I’m sorry, we need the answer in the form of a question. Awww…

    2. ssckelley

      I think the only one that needs to grow up is the big baby that got all butthurt when he found out he had been sent to Iowa.

    3. another JP

      “You guys need to grow up a little.”

      Lighten up, Francis.

  20. another JP

    When reading Stewie’s comments one can certainly perceive his sense of entitlement. The level of condescension toward his current and past teammates is also palpable. For an organization that values the “make-up” of a player, it’s hard to conceive how the Cubs ever fell for this guys act.

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